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What is a Disorder of Gut-Brain Interaction (DGBI)

Disorder of Gut-Brain Interaction (DGBI) is a recent term that encompasses dozens of disorders that occur in over 40% of adults and children. DGBI replaced Functional GI Disorders with the publication of Rome IV in 2016 because of the false perception that “functional” is less legitimate than other disorders. The reason for this originated from and is steeped in the influence of dualistic mind-body principles that separate “organic” disorders, attributed by some to be more “real” and functional disorders (i.e., nonstructural disorders), which are often considered psychiatric or undefined.

The Rome Foundation relied on the Delphi decision-making method to develop a new definition that would be considered positive (rather than excluding other diseases), reflective of current scientific knowledge, and non-stigmatizing. The agreed-upon definition is:

Disorders of Gut-Brain Interaction

A group of disorders classified by GI symptoms related to any combination of:

  • Motility disturbance
  • Visceral hypersensitivity
  • Altered mucosal and immune function
  • Altered gut microbiota
  • Altered central nervous system (CNS) processing

This definition is most consistent with our evolving understanding of multiple pathophysiological processes that, in part or together, determine the symptom features that characterize the Rome classification of disorders. We believe this definition to be understood and readily acceptable to clinicians, academicians, regulatory agencies, the pharmaceutical industry, and patients.

Want to learn more about the diagnoses and symptoms associated with a DGBI?

Scroll to see our glossary of terms below and learn even more in our new book: Gut Feelings: Disorders of Gut Brain Interactions and the Patient-Provider Relationship

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